As I mentioned in my earlier blog (O (Old) Christmas Tree) about Christmas decorations and how we get them from storage in our loft/attics etc at the beginning of each Christmas season. We check the plugs and fuses of our old Christmas lights and see how many bulbs still work. I think the oldest lights I have are over 40 years old and we drape them around our 45-year-old Christmas tree I had when growing up.
Last Christmas when we were in the Philippines visiting our family, we saw amazing Christmas decorations and lights almost everywhere. We bought back from halfway around the globe, one particular Christmas decoration which is popular in the Philippines. It is called a paról.
A paról is a star-shaped or star patterned lantern, the shape representing the Star of Bethlehem that guided The Three Kings to the birthplace and manger of Jesus. A paról can come in various sizes and designs/patterns as long as it is a five-pointed star shape and can be illuminated. They are traditionally made out bamboo and paper. Nowadays they can be constructed from materials such as plastic, glass, thick strong polythene & light metal strips They are illuminated by candles or electric light bulbs. paróls are traditional to Filipinos at Christmas as the Christmas tree is to us. Modern electric/battery powered paróls can produce colourful complex patterns like some of our home Christmas lights.
5th Annual Convention, Barrio Lieutenant Association of the Philippines, Eligio Wamil, 5th from left second row. the woman is Armi Kuusela
Barangay Election – Philippines
I thought I should post this Wamil Family memorabilia to honour the current barangay election that is gripping the Philippines.
As per above photo, my father was a former barrio captain or barrio lieutenant. The photo was taken with Armi Kuusela, who was of course the very first MISS UNIVERSE!
She had to give up the crown in the middle of her reign to marry a very rich Filipino, Virgilio Hilario, after a very whirlwind courtship. I think the one sitting on her right is Armi’s husband.
Anyway, looking at the above photo, my father was fifth from the left, second row, standing up. Well just look for the most handsome man, that is my father! LOL 🙂
My father was the barrio captain of a paradise-like village of Marag.
What is a barangay in terms of a barrio?
A barangay was formerly known as a barrio. And it is the smallest administrative unit or district in the Philippines.
These villages or barrios or barangays are headed by cabeza del barrio also known as kapitan del barrio, barrio captain, also called as barrio lieutenant, teniente del barrio or the more modern Punong Barangay/ Barangay chairperson.
Barangay came from the word balangay, which is coined from the boat used by Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian) people to migrate to the Philippines.
I have to say that these Austonesian people look so much like the Igorots of Mountain Province.
Anyway, please remember to vote wisely. Elect those who are able, capable, and not prone to corruption.
Robredo Vs Marcos, the Recount (ABS CBN photo composite)
Vice Presidency of the Philippines – Latest
The 2016 election for President and Vice President in the Philippines is a worthy saga on par with the adventures of the classic Beowulf.
In fact it is more exacting in parts as it has given not only the Philippines but the world Duterte, a charismatic man, though not to everyone’s cup of tea, someone who cannot be ignored.
This election had made famous Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines as its duly elect president and rather infamous with the rest of the world 🙂 because of his bloody war on drugs.
The lesser role of vice president, though Leni Robredo was duly sworn as the winner, is still being contested due to alleged ballots tampering and cheating.
Bongbong Marcos had continually opined that there was a massive anomaly during the election. His complaint had been finally heard by the Supreme Court and had started a recount in the last couple of days.
This new recount, which is done manually, had apparently not started well as four of the psychologically tested number crunchers have resigned.
Perhaps they have to look into the psychological form of testing as well. 🙂
Back when we were little children in Marag, Philippines, pako became a staple diet. It was in our dinner table at least once a week. We ate a lot of it so much that we kids 🙂 should have grown into goats 🙂 or hated it after a while. But I have always a vibrant and positive memory of pako.
Gathering pako is an adventure for us youngster. We had to roam a dense growth of greens at the mouth of a forest and try to pick the young furling sprouts of pako. Thank goodness they grow profusely together and therefore picking them one by one was not much of a chore.
Pako can be prepared in plenty of ways, it can be blanched and made into a salad, it can be left fresh as it is as a salad as well or cook and added into various kind of inabraw, an Ilocano way of cooking.
Below is another pako salad recipe.
1 large bunch pako (fern)
2 salted eggs or hard boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
sprinkling of salt to taste
Method of Preparation:
prepare the pako by removing any tough stalk.
Bring a large pot of boiling water. Blanch the pako by quickly dipping them into the hot water. Leave for a minute and drain.
Arranged the pako on a serving platter.
Put the tomatoes and onion on top then garnish with the slices of salted eggs.
Make a typical Filipino dressing by mixing the vinegar, fish sauce, black pepper, sugar and a very little salt. Stir it in thoroughly for the granules to dissolve.